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From Kaya Taran to Loud Speaker

Last updated on: July 31, 2009 

From Kaya Taran to Loud Speaker

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Sashi Kumar, Chairman of the Chennai based Asian College of Journalism is also a filmmaker. His first Hindi film Kaya Taran (Chrysalis) made in 2004 won him the prestigious Aravindam Puraskaram. The hugely successful anchor in the early Doordarshan days has also been instrumental in starting the first regional TV channel in the country, Asianet.

Sashi can act too. He acted in R Ravindran's Iniyum Marichittilla Nammal in 1980. And now, he's ready to don the greasepaint once again in National award-winning director Jayaraj's Loud Speaker which stars Mammootty in the lead. Sashi plays Anand Menon in the film.

In an exclusive interview to Meghna George, he talks at length about movies and much more. Excerpts:   

You have an important role in Loud Speaker. How do you feel about being a part of this movie?

True, it's a very important character, which is a kind of a parallel role. But I don't feel very uncomfortable doing it. Of course, finally the performance will be gauged by what happens on screen. I feel comfortable largely because Mammootty and the director, Jayaraj, made me feel comfortable. Of course, I like the role and that's why I took it up. So far, I must say, things have been going alright [smiles].


Image: Mammootty, Jayaraj and Sashi Kumar

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'I became part of Loud Speaker largely because Mammootty called me'

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You have been away from the limelight for a while now...

I have been busy with the activities of Asian College of Journalism and also with certain other projects. So I was not really having the time to do much on screen. The last thing I did was regarding a series based on citizen journalism for a channel in Malayalam. I had done it mainly because it was related to journalism. Otherwise I haven't made a bid to come on screen.

Do you keep track of what's happening in Malayalam cinema?

Not too much actually. In fact, I became part of Loud Speaker largely because Mammootty called me and persuaded me to do this role. He was meant to do this role himself but then the question was on whom to cast in the role that he is playing now. Both he and director Jayaraj thought that I would be best fit for the role. When I read the script, it did seem interesting. Although it is a commercial film, it's a film with a difference, kind of a middle of the road cinema, perhaps the kind of variety cinema that are related to directors like Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Jayaraj is known to make such films. It's both a challenge and an adventure.


Image: A scene from Loud Speaker

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'I have not gone to the theatre to watch a film for a long time'

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How is the experience of acting with sync sound recording in Loud Speaker?

It's really a great advantage. You really get the feel of the moment with this process. Otherwise, you have to create the atmosphere again, when you are dubbing. Then it is different from the original. Though it is good for the artists, the technicians find it a nightmare, mainly because the industry is used to dubbing.

To get a silent ambience is asking for the sky. Then there is this problem when you shoot night scenes during the day and vice versa, which you can cheat on the visuals.

Do you enjoy watching mainstream commercial kind of cinema as you are generally associated with the offbeat or say, serious films?

I don't watch the mainstream, commercial variety of cinema much, unless I am switching channels on TV. I have not gone to the theatre to watch a film for a long time. Of course, I have seen some of those interesting films like Dev D in between.


Image: A scene from Loud Speaker

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'I have taken to serious cinema for far too long to have a different appetite'

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What is your kind of cinema?

Of course, the great European masters, offbeat, serious cinema and so on. I like some of the performances in the commercial mainstream cinema as well.

Some of them have also done well both as mainstream and serious cinema. As a student of cinema, I have taken to serious cinema for far too long to have a different appetite.


Image: A scene from Loud Speaker

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'Acting cannot be considered as a hobby'

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Do you miss being in the limelight these days?

I don't. I think I have done enough of being on camera. There have always been many offers but as I told you earlier, it was the script that attracted me. Otherwise, there is too much of other work to be done to devote more time into it. Acting cannot be considered as a hobby either as it is really time consuming and demands a lot of attention and energy.

Do you have plans to direct a feature film in the near future?

I was preoccupied with many projects and the shifting, diversification and foreign collaboration of the college. I have some ideas in my mind and I hope that I will be able to make it into a film very soon.


Image: A scene from Loud Speaker

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